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Agronomic performance and energetic potential of two Brassica oilseed species in Sicily, Italy

Licata, M., Lazzeri, L., Massaro, F., Leto, C., La Bella, S., Bonsangue, G., Tuttolomondo, T.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1202 pp. 113-120
Brassica carinata, Brassica napus var. napus, agronomic traits, biometry, economic sustainability, energy, energy crops, farmers, financial economics, heat, industrial crops, oilseeds, power plants, protocols, renewable energy sources, seed yield, semiarid zones, vegetable oil, Italy, Mediterranean region, Sicily
Industrial crops for energy purposes are object of increasing interest worldwide and play an important role as a source of renewable energy. The aims of this study were to evaluate: i) the agronomic performance of Brassica napus L. var. oleifera D.C. and Brassica carinata A. Braun in a semi-arid environment; ii) to evaluate the economic viability of a pilot combined heat and power (CHP) plant operating on pure vegetable oil (PVO). The research was carried out in Sicily (Italy). The main biometric and yield parameters of the two species were determined. Chemical-physical characterizations were carried out on PVO for each species using specific protocols. The cogeneration of renewable energy was carried out using a CHP system with a nominal power of 75 kW h-1. The final stage focused on the economic viability analysis of the CHP system. Oil seed yield of Brassica napus and Brassica carinata were 2.10 and 1.16 t ha-1 on average, respectively. Cash-flow trend analysis showed good economic benefit to farmers. These results make the two species promising energy crops for cultivation in Mediterranean areas.